Archive for June, 2005

You could say this is satire in the best tradition of Scrappleface, but it isn’t. Philippine President Arroyo has tossed her husband out of the country to hide him from corruption allegations.

Jun 29, 2005 — MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo moved dramatically on Wednesday to reduce pressure on her government from graft allegations, saying her husband had agreed to leave the country.

She did not say how long her husband, Jose Miguel and known widely as Mike, would remain abroad. Opposition lawmakers have said he, the couple’s son and other family members were involved in payoffs from gambling syndicates, but nothing has been proved.

Her husband has also been accused by the opposition of helping Arroyo try to fix the results of last year’s election in telephone conversations with an election official.

“Today, my family is once again called to sacrifice our personal happiness to allow me to serve best as president of our country,” Arroyo, her voice cracking with emotion, told a business forum in Manila.

“My husband has volunteered to go abroad. I mention this here today because I want to signal to everyone that nothing can stop my administration from implementing … our reform agenda.”

Volunteered? That’s rich, as I said it borders on being satire. It also gives “Mike” an opportunity to stash any US assets from prying legal eyes. One note of advise to the Philippine customs department. Better give “Mike” a complete inspection on his way out of the country. There’s no telling how much may be secreted out under the guise of “personnel papers.”

On a more serious note, Archbishop Oscar Cruz advised President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to “just go” and “there is life after the presidency.”

That’s most likely true, the question is will that life be behind bars.

Cross Posted On the Third Hand.

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Subtitled, “Things you never see in the Media, but strangely enough turn up when least expected.”

One wouldn’t expect CNN to post an article listing favorable events in Iraq on the very day Bush gives the Nation a speech on the subject. Yet here it is courtesy of Anderson Cooper 360 and reporter Jennifer Eccleston.

JENNIFER ECCLESTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The big day has arrived for Piras Odisho and —. Despite the daily disruptions to life in Baghdad, a rising number of young couples like them are taking the plunge.

PIRAS ODISHO, GROOM (translator): Life must go on. There must be marriages and happiness.

ECCLESTON: Marriages are up 30 percent since Saddam’s overthrow and the judge signing their wedding contract thinks he knows why.

GHANI AL-ISAA, JUDGE (translator): There is an increase since the income of all sectors of Iraqi people has gone up.

ECCLESTON: Measuring Iraq’s economic health is not an exact science, but those in work, like the 350 judges trained in the past two years, are better paid, thanks to U.S. subsidies.

The Iraqi dinar holds its value. Gone is the rampant inflation of the ’90’s. There are more goods in the shops, in part, thanks to low import duties and a thriving black market.

It’s estimated that there’s five times more traffic on Baghdad’s roads than there was pre-war and then, there is, what some call, the freedom index. In January, nearly 60 percent of Iraqis voted, choosing from a wide variety of parties. The assembly they voted for is meeting and is beginning to frame a new constitution for Iraq and 25 Sunni delegates are participating.

Internet cafes, unknown under Saddam, have sprung up in Baghdad. There are more than three million telephone subscribers, compared to fewer than a million before the war and many of them are on cell phones. Some 170 independent newspapers and magazines offer competing opinions and there are 80 commercial radio stations.

Wealthier Iraqis have satellite dishes and watch channels from around the world, a luxury unthinkable three years ago. Much of the country away from the Sunni dominated north and west is not racked by sectarian violence and some 150,000 Iraqi security forces are trained, equipped, and playing a larger role in battling the insurgents.

Strange no? Has CNN turned over a new leaf and decided to actually provide a more balanced coverage of Iraq as opposed to the constant barrage of death and destruction?

One story doesn’t give me any assurence it will happen, but we can all hope.

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Two Quotes For the Day

Here are two quotes taken from an article written by Ralph Kinney Bennett, contributing Editor of TechCentralSttation.

“The world as it is today is how others shaped it. We have two choices: either to accept it with submission, which means letting Islam die, or to destroy it, so that we can construct the world as Islam requires.” – Iranian Ayatollah Muhammad Baqer al-Sadr, 1980

And these words from Bennett himself:

Those fatuous lawmakers who float talk of “timetables” and gibber about “quagmires” and think we can simply “come home” from this fight, are guilty at the least of a monstrous ignorance.

We are taking a hard pounding, but we have taken harder. Our troops have the stomach to take it and pound back, but if they sense that we back home have lost our nerve then the fight is lost. The majority of us, who have had to make little or no sacrifice in this war, should at the least be signaling by the millions this July 4th that we not only support our military, but also the winning of this fight.

Are you listening Kennedy, Pelosi, Biden and the rest that have uttered the “Q” word?

How about you DICK Durbin?

And all the idiots that have floated your lunacy inspired withdrawal bill in Congress, are you listening?

UPDATE: These 19 ignorant bastards, all Democrats (yes I know, you’re not shocked), have unveiled a bill Monday that asks the Bush administration to come up with a timeline for withdrawing US Forces from Iraq.

UPDATE II: It was a fair bet this was coming. The [Dim]ocrats apparently chose John Kerry to pen a preemptive strike for the NYT op/ed page before Pres. Bush’s speech tonight. Kerry offers Bush suggestions on what he should say in his address to the Nation. Mostly its a mirror of what has already been done by the Bush admin, only on steriods. Do it bigger, faster and better.

Plus the now familar “deadline” talking point all the Dims have adopted. He suggests “deadlines for finishing the Constitution and holding elections in December.” Guess Kerry hasn’t heard the Constitution is to be completed by August. And wouldn’t an already scheduled December election be a deadline?

Kerry continues with: “The administration must immediately draw up a detailed plan with clear milestones and deadlines for the transfer of military and police responsibilities to Iraqis after the December elections.” This is a better plan than Bush, feed the jihadists a roadmap to a stronger, better insurgency after the US pulls out?

Typical of Kerry, and the rest of the “no plan is our plan [Dim]ocrats.”

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The current vote rigging scandal has swirled around Philippines President for close to four weeks. After protest marches, calls for snap elections, rumors of government takeovers too numerous to count and portions of the alleged “smoking gun” tape becoming the latest rage in cellphone ringtones Pres. Arroyo addressed the country. What follows is the full text of her address to the nation:

Mga Minamahal kong Kababayan,

For the last several weeks, the issue of the tape recordings has spun out of control. Tonight, I want to set the record straight. You deserve an explanation; from me, because you are the people I was elected to serve.

As you recall, the election canvassing process was unnecessarily slow even after the election results were already in and the votes had been counted.

I was anxious to protect my votes and during that time had conversations with many people, including a Comelec official. My intent was not to influence the outcome of the election, and it did not. As I mentioned, the election had already been decided and the votes counted. And as you remember, the outcome had been predicted by every major public opinion poll, and adjudged free, fair and decisive by international election observers, and our own Namfrel.

That said, let me tell you how I personally feel, I recognize that making any such call was a lapse in judgment. I’m sorry. I also regret taking so long to speak before you on this matter. I take full responsibility for my actions and to you and to all those good citizens who may have had their faith shaken by these events. I want to assure you that I have redoubled my efforts to serve the nation and earn your trust.

Nagagambala ako. Maliwanag na may kakulangan sa wastong pagpapasya ang nangyaring pagtawag sa telepono.//pinagsisisihan ko ito ng lubos.// Pinana’gutan ko nang lubusan ang aking mga ginawa at humuhingi ako ng tawad sa inyo, sa lahat ng mga butihing mamamayan na nabawasan ng tiwala dahil sa mga pangyayaring ito. Ibig kong tiyakin sa inyo na lalo pa akong magsisikap upang maglingkod sa bayan at matamo ang inyong tiwala.

I took office with a mandate to carry out a plan for the nation. Since that time, I have focused on making the tough but necessary decisions to make up for years of economic neglect. We passed a comprehensive fiscally responsible national budget; raised new and necessary revenues to reinvest in the people; and implemented new anti-corruption measures that have led to the highest collection of taxes in history.

Nothing should stand in the way of this work, or the next phase of my reform agenda, which includes new investments in education and social services with our new revenues; and an expansion of our successful anti-corruption and lifestyle checks.

That is why I want to close this chapter and move on with the business of governing.

I ask each and every one of you to join hands with me in a show of unity, to help forge One Philippines, where everyone is equal under the law, and where everyone has the opportunity to use their God-given talents to make a better life.

Our nation is strong and getting stronger. The progress is steady and I ask you to walk with me on this journey to rebuild our great nation. I remain your humble servant and promise you that I will fulfill my constitutional oath of office to serve the people to the best of my ability.

God Bless the Philippines.

It should be pointed out Arroyo was required under law to make this statement. Under Section 5 of Republic Act 6713, otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, all public officials are required to reply within 15 working days to any query or complaint from any citizen. The complaint alleging vote fraud was filed on 12 June.

President Arroyo has remained deadly silent on the scandal until she was forced to meet this deadline. And to be honest it’s short on substance and long on platitudes. Based on these words her greatest achievement has been the passage of the controversial value added tax.

Even as she was giving her speech, behind the scenes, the government is studying the possibility of lowering the tariff duty on crude and refined oil products to soften the impact of the 10-percent value added tax on petroleum products. That would seem to undercut any gains she has already made.

The bottom line is this. Despite her claims at fulfilling her constitutional oath and serving the people, I’m sticking by my recent prediction. She’s gone by Christmas at the latest.

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Bruce Kesler gives the leftist appeasement monkeys a good thrashing:

The left’s Vietnam-era outrageous verbiage is now being repeated, vilifying America, treating it as the enemy. Its infiltration into the highest corridors of America’s institutions is insidious, and more dangerous than before. Then, millions on the other side of the world suffered and were massacred. This time the collapse of America’s will could mean millions in the West will suffer terribly at the hands of the jihadists.

Alarmist? You betcha. Ring the alarm. Wake up and smell the coffee. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee polled 85 top nonproliferation and national-security experts. According to them, we face a 50 percent chance of a nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological attack within the next five years, and 70 percent over the next 10-years (Associated Press, June 23).

The extreme left, as in Vietnam, is seeking nothing less than the destruction of the American will and the denigration of our defenses. This does not mean there should not be civil and constructive disagreements and responsible debate over our tactics and strategy. I must add that the validity of armchair ignorance and political demagoguery – when that is so – is usually trumped by frontline knowledge and command responsibility. But the extreme left is not interested in responsible dialogue in a democracy, building a better America. It is a preparatory WMD in our midst.

As they say, read the rest.

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Hey Dude, Where’s My Crime ?

Via the BBC:

Campaigns to persuade people to stop downloading pirated games or software from the internet are not working, a report suggests.

Two UK university researchers found that people did not see downloading copyrighted material as theft.

The findings are unwelcome news for the games industry, which says it loses more than £2bn annually from piracy.

No! Really!

Who’d a thunk it.

Those in the movie/gaming/music/software industries cry whine and wring their collective hands over lost revenue through piracy. I have zero sympathy for them and here’s why.

Pirated DVD’s here in the Philippines have reached the same level of quality as the originals. Sound is 6 channel, video is excellent, the only thing missing in some, but not all cases, are the extra features. And the frosting on this theft cake are availability. The Disney “Herbie” flic released this week in the States was available on the streets of Manila early this week. The same can be said for many of the recent Hollywood releases, Robot, Shrek 2 and Madagascar all appeared at or just before the US release date.

The only explaination for that are industry insiders are cashing in by leaking the masters, or first generation copies, and Fedexing them to “partners in piracy” in Asia or elsewhere. That also explains why the extra features are missing, those are added when the DVD’s are produced six months or so after the movie is released

So until they clean their own house I shed no tears!

Cross posted On the Third Hand

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Things That Chap My Ass !

There are many things that send me into a scratching frenzy about my rectal area, but for the purposes of this post I’ll detail only one.

And that’s the Natalee Holloway News Network, (NHNN). From an Aruba mother speaking out, to videos of the alleged perps mother, and this stupid wench who breathlessly intones on her blog; “Last night after the show we went from the set at 11 p.m. to the beach — not for midnight sunbathing, but rather to the beach that the Dutch teen took Natalee Holloway to on May 30. We wanted to see it — and see it at late night when Natalee was supposedly there.”

And this helps, how Greta – “no Michael what do I do now?” – Van Susteren? Adding to that absurdity is Bill O’Reilly bloviating about how the world is interested in this “human story.”

Well lets have a look see. Here in the Philippines, nothing aside from a news crawl when it was learned the alleged perp was a son of a government official, nothing before and nothing since. A quick check of the Australian Media, would be a big fat nada! CNN International, nothing. MSNBC, very little and only when another arrest is made. So where is the world Bill? The “spin” has stopped at the NHNN.

It’s all Natalee all the time on the NHNN and I’m sick of it.

In fact I’m at the point of pissing off the bleeding hearts all rushing to poor Natalee’s aid. Don’t get me wrong, what’s happened in the “Aruban paradise” shouldn’t occur to anyone.

BUT. What I see is a kid in a foreign country for a week. The evening before she’s due to fly home to her loving – “here’s a prayer card for you” – Mama she decides the “wise” thing to do is galavant around in the local bars, accept a ride from two total strangers and the local 17 year old playboy.

She promptly disappears into the nether world somewhere, or is sleeping with the fishes. Well duh… I wonder why?

The answer is obvious. She’s an immature kid who was unsupervised, got drunk, played kissy face with the Aruban Don Juan and her G-String got as wet as the ocean Aruba sits in. Period, end of story.

Unless you work for the NHNN, then it’s all Natalee, all the time 24/7.

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The Lancet Journal became imfamous for publishing a study, led by Les Roberts of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, purporting to show that nearly 100,000 deaths had resulted from the Iraq war. As we know now the study was flawed, if not a complete fabracation, and was part of an effort to to influence the U.S. presidential election.

As if that stunt by a supposedly apolitical organization wasn’t enough now they are risking the health of the UK’s children with another “study.”

“Terrible.” “Disgracefully bad.” “Scare-mongering.”

Those are some of the words Britain’s Royal Society used last week to describe the Lancet, the United Kingdom’s leading medical journal. Much of the invective can be chalked up to an escalating spat between the two institutions: The Lancet recently called the venerable 345-year-old Royal Society “shrill and superficial” and claimed it makes no major contributions to medicine. But in the latest round of charges, the Royal Society accuses the Lancet of contributing to children’s deaths in the wake of a flawed study on measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations and of unnecessarily casting aspersions on a worthy breast-cancer treatment.

I’m no doctor and frankly I haven’t read the study in question, but if the Iraq casualty tripe is used as a yardstick I’ll side with Britain’s Royal Society.

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American turncoat and former US weapons inspector in Iraq, Scott Ritter:

Given the fact that the bulk of the logistical support and command and control capability required to wage a war with Iran is already forward deployed in the region thanks to the massive US presence in Iraq, the build-up time for a war with Iran will be significantly reduced compared to even the accelerated time tables witnessed with Iraq in 2002-2003.

America and the Western nations continue to be fixated on the ongoing tragedy and debacle that is Iraq. Much needed debate on the reasoning behind the war with Iraq and the failed post-war occupation of Iraq is finally starting to spring up in the United States and elsewhere.

Normally, this would represent a good turn of events. But with everyone’s heads rooted in the events of the past, many are missing out on the crime that is about to be repeated by the Bush administration in Iran – an illegal war of aggression, based on false premise, carried out with little regard to either the people of Iran or the United States.

Personally I could care less, someone needs to bomb the Iranian mullahs to hell and back. Ritter makes it very plain where his allegencies lay when he is publishing this tripe in jihadist cut throats network vice a US media outlet.

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Best Blog Headline of the Day

“DURBIN WATCH, Tears of a Clown” via Michelle.

Too little too late to my way of thinking. Dick Durbin should be given air time on al-Jazeera to make a statement and apology. Not that it would matter much. But it sure would be interesting to see him live on what most probably is his favorite cable network!

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